28 January 2008

You No Longer Need To Know Sports To Become An Australian Citizen

Gaining citizenship in any country is a big, big deal. In the United States as well as elsewhere people study and work extremely hard to gain it. The same goes for Australia. But the road to citizenship is a little easier there, especially for those who haven't brushed up on their sports trivia.

The test was supposed to be designed to demonstrate Australian values, traditions and history. Instead the 20-question test seemed to be pretty trivial in nature, as sports trivia questions prevailed over those that, you know, matter.

"They're the important things that people entering our society to become citizens need to understand," Immigration Minister Chris Evans said. "Whether or not they need to understand the history of Walter Lindrum's contribution to billiards in the 1930s and 40s I'm not so sure."
But wait a minute. Don't think that all sports knowledge should be wiped away from potential citizens' minds. While Lindrum might not matter, others do. And one of those would be Sir Donald Bradman or The Don, considered to be Australia's greatest cricketer of the 1930s. Questions about him will not be dropped.

"We all love The Don," he said. "I have no problem with The Don. I think The Don is a reasonable thing to put in any understanding of Australia, its love of cricket."

And so sports does have its place in Australian society, just like it does in every other country. It's a part of culture, and helps to define a society just as the arts do. But only so much. As it should, sports will have some place in the citizenship test. But rightfully so, it shouldn't be the main subject.

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